I admit, I’m surprised. I did not expect to be overcome, much less affected, by the act of moving out of our house. One more day. Then we’re out for good. The keys will be handed off to the next family who will fill this place with the energy of their life together.
Luke and Madeleine’s voices, like birds chirping happily, bounce from wall to empty wall. They laugh, they chase each other from room to room, teasing each other as they normally do and it all sounds so much louder than it did when furniture and photos and toys, flowers in vases, picture books and stacks of mail filled the rooms, soaking up their cacophony.
Off you go – naked Barbie, mismatched puzzle pieces, bras hanging to dry, half-full shampoo bottles, almost empty toilet paper roll. Bathing suits and beach towels, rolls of Christmas wrapping paper, Halloween costumes, note cards, thumbtacks, photo of our wedding day and of our newborn babies, wine corks from romantic dinners, wooden spoons and panini press. Off you go, into the boxes. Boxes piled upon piles. Dust bunnies lurk in corners and swirl in the air behind walking feet. Did I pack the vacuum yet? Beds have been disassembled and we sleep on mattresses on the floor. Can we call that glamping?
The most poignant of moments during this process is actually today. The 11th hour, I guess you could say. Is the reason I procrastinated about packing because I prefer to avoid difficult moments? Because I dread little in life as much as I dread goodbyes? Yes, I suppose so. It’s almost scary to think that the life of a family – energetic, boisterous, exhausting at times, affectionate, frustrating, happy, grateful – can be scooped up and carted away in boxes as if we were never here. Isn’t that scary?
I’m having a moment. And, no, I didn’t expect it. We’ve already been through an act of nature that shuffled us from this house to another and then back again, and so I figured I was immune to the toll all this movement would bring upon us.
Nope. Not immune. Is there a vaccine for that?
While I sit here, Michael has gone out to bring another load to put in storage. I’ve run out of tape and I can’t assemble any more boxes until he returns. What’s that saying about idle hands? Madeleine holds her arms out, spinning until she drops to the floor and Luke sits contorted in excitement cradling his video game in his hands. Thankfully they’re affected so much less by all of this than their parents are. Thankfully, we grown-ups absorb the bulk of the stress. Kids are wonderfully hardy. And we are, too. It just takes a little longer for us to catch on.
Thank you, dear home, for sheltering us and keeping us warm and for memories, great and countless. We’ve experienced joy here that has swept us off our feet, doors have been slammed in anger (me) and quiet corners sought out to brood (him). Thank you, green grass behind our picket fence, beneath our feet as we played and rolled and laughed. We’ve pulled the red wagon home from the beach – was it a hundred times? – filled with buckets and seashells and sandy feet. Thanks, garden hose, for rinsing off the day. Thank you, flowers and salty breezes, for wrapping this life of ours up in a great big bow. I wouldn’t dare ask for more.